Bon Dieu; la voilà terminée, cette pauvre petite messe. Est-ce bien de la musique sacrée que je viens de faire, ou bien de la sacré musique ? J'étais né pour l'opera buffa, tu le sais bien ! Peu de science, un peu de cœur, tout est là. Sois donc béni et accorde-moi le Paradis. -- Gioachino Rossini, dedication to Petite Messe Solennelle
Taminophile, who magnanimously made it known that he had a spare ticket to Rossini's Petite Messe at Lincoln Center. I jumped at the chance, and had the very great pleasure of--finally!--meeting the charming Taminophile, discussing bel canto, and listening to Rossini! I have conscientiously not read his blog post on it yet, but you all should (not only is he charming, but he knows a lot more about Rossini than I do.) My homework on the 1863 piece--which, although I'm familiar with movements from it, I don't think I'd previously heard in its entirety--was facilitated by this Philip Gossett article, so I could appreciate it without feeling too clueless. And it was exquisitely lovely; I'm at a loss to know why it isn't more often performed, especially as Rossini's original call for twelve singers would seem to be well within the reach of any church with a well-developed music program. There were, I admit, a few moments where I had to remind myself that repetition and embroidery are key hallmarks of the Rossini style, and I just needed to sit back and relax and bask in it. And bask I did.